CAN Quarterly Newsletter:
Fall 2014

Dear CAN Partners and Supporters, 

As 2014 comes to a close, we pause to reflect on everything that has transpired across Appalachia these past 12 months. It has been a great year for sustainable development in our region, with organizations, communities, and partnerships pushing innovative approaches to building community-based economies. Appalachia's local food systems are thriving as never before; small businesses and social enterprises are growing into emerging market opportunities; and the movement for Appalachian Transition has never had more support and energy! There is plenty of work to be done in 2015 and beyond, but let's take this moment to be thankful for everyone who helps to make our region a better place to live and work. Read below for network and regional news, and enjoy the holiday season!

As always, we appreciate your support and partnership, and encourage you to visit our website and follow us on Facebook. You can also contact us at
 with questions, comments, or suggestions for future newsletter features. Thank you for all that you do to create a more just and sustainable Appalachia! 

Best wishes, 

The CAN Steering Committee

In this Newsletter (click to jump):
Food Systems Working Group Submits USDA RCDI Application
Entrepreneurship Support Working Group Hosts Small Business Event
CAN Grantees Gather in West Virginia
ASD and Rural Action Expand Farm to School Work

CAN News and Updates



Food Systems Working Group Submits USDA RCDI Application

The Central Appalachia Food Systems Working Group (FSWG) is a joint initiative of CAN and the Appalachia Funders Network. Throughout 2014, food system practitioners including CAN members and partners came together with funders to identify capacity needs and strategies within four sub-regions:
  • Appalachian Ohio
  • Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee
  • Eastern Kentucky
  • Eastern West Virginia
The analysis and strategies that emerged from these conversations were organized within a regional application for a USDA “Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI)” grant. This grant, if successful, will support 9 practitioner organizations and their funding partners in carrying out their collective plans to strengthen the local food economies and improve local food access in their sub-region.  

Entrepreneurship Support Working Group Hosts Small Business Event

Beginning in the Spring of 2014, CAN piloted an Entrepreneurship Support Working Group of regional actors who come together to share their analysis, lessons, and best practices for supporting small businesses in Central Appalachia. Building on these learning conversations, CAN partnered with the WV Alliance for Economic Inclusion (a joint initiative of ARC and FDIC) to co-host a Small Business Trainers Workshop in Charleston, WV on December 10. Participants represented a wide array of support actors, including banks, universities, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), non-profit organizations, USDA Rural Development, Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs), business consultants, investors, US Small Business Administration (SBA), and small business incubators. This group identified shared needs across the region, opportunities for shared work and collaboration, and possible next steps to improve the small business support system. Stay tuned for more information!

CAN Grantees Gather in West Virginia

Once again, CAN brought together our 2014 Small Grant recipients to make connections and share their projects. Over a day and a half in October, CAN members and grantees gathered to share questions, lessons learned, and promising approaches around topics such as Farm to School, organizational development, cooperatives and grower groups, and marketing and branding.  

Regional News



ASD and Rural Action Expand Farm to School Work

CAN members Appalachian Sustainable Development and Rural Action (whose F2S partnership with Hocking College and ACEnet started with a CAN small grant) both received USDA Farm to School grants to expand their work getting fresh local produce into school lunches.

From ASD: “This project will leverage Appalachian Sustainable Development’s infrastructure and expertise in market and farmer development and its relationships with schools to increase the flow of local produce into three local school systems in southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee. This project will lay the foundation for a region‐wide network of school systems that will increase the ability to engage regional farmers.”

From Rural Action: “This grant will support an ongoing partnership between Rural Action, Hocking College, and an expanding network of regional K-12 Schools. It will increase our capacity to bring fresh local produce to some of the poorest school districts in the State of Ohio, connecting the students to one of the strongest local food value chains in the State, while providing Hocking College Culinary Students with real world farm to table experiences.”

Other National and Federal Grants for Local Foods in Central Appalachia:
USDA Local Food Promotion Program (Received by ASD and Appalachian RC&D; ACEnet; Unlimited Future, Inc.)
USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program (Received by Community Farm Alliance; WV Farmer’s Market Association)
ARC Livable Communities (Received by Unlimited Future, Inc./Huntington, WV)
Newman’s Own Foundation (Received by ASD)

ARC's "Bon Appétit Appalachia" Food Mapguide Gets National Attention

Since its launch this past July, Bon Appétit Appalachia has showcased local food and farm businesses and sites across the region. CAN members and partners have served as local partners for the initiative's rollout, and state tourism offices in WV, OH, VA, and KY have held supporting events and workshops. Check out the still-growing inventory on the Bon Appétit Appalachia website, or read this article from the Wall Street Journal


Community Farm Alliance: Breaking Beans Communications Project

Longtime CAN partner and grantee CFA has a great new communications project called “Breaking Beans.” In CFA’s, words, “This project is telling the story of how local food and farming in Eastern Kentucky can contribute to a bright future in the mountains. We have five fellows writing articles, conducting interviews, and capturing photos to tell the stories of real people in the food community of Appalachia. You can read more about it here and you can see the stories here.”

Coalfield Development Corporation a Finalist in Social Enterprise Contest!

CDC’s Reclaim Appalachia social enterprise, whose business plan was written with the support of a CAN grant, re-purposes deconstructed building materials to make furniture and provides critical job training at the same time. Now, they’re one of the finalists in an international social enterprise competition! Learn more about the contest here

Eight Appalachian Communities are Winners of National “Local Foods, Local Places” Grant Competition

“Eight Appalachian communities (including four in Central Appalachia) are among the 26 selected nationwide as winners of the federal Local Foods, Local Places grant competition, which will provide communities with technical assistance and implementation support to help them integrate local food systems into their economic development action plans.” Read more on ARC’s web site!


Food Hub Resources

MIT Research Report for CAN on Food Hub Logistics

We are excited to release a research report produced for CAN by Jonah Rogoff, an MIT graduate student. The report, “Improving Systems of Distribution and Logistics for Regional Food Hubs,” was developed in response to the growing field of rural food hubs and the need to better understand best practices for logistics and distribution. The report surveys the existing literature around food hub models and the role they play in the food system, profiles various case studies from across the country, and provides a summary of research findings and recommendations for food hubs in Central Appalachia. Visit or download it directly here, and please share this report as widely as you wish!
Wholesome Wave Food Hub Business Assessment Toolkit

This toolkit is one of several recent tools from the national organization Wholesome Wave. This document provides step by step guidance for evaluating every aspect of a food hub’s operations and business model, which can help determine investment readiness. Download a PDF of the toolkit here.
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CAN is supported by the Ford Foundation, Appalachian Regional Commission, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, and blue moon fund.  

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